Frequently Asked Questions about Nongame Wildlife:

 

 

  • I found a baby bird. Whad do I do with it?
    • Answer: If you find a baby bird during the summertime, the best thing to do is leave it alone. The same goes for any baby animal. A lot of times during the breeding season you will come across a baby bird, deer, etc. that does not have a parent around and may appear orphaned. 9 times out of 10 this is not the case. Many times the parents are out searching for food to take care of their young and will return soon. Also, young birds will often leave the nest before they are ready to fly appearing helpless or injured, but are actually in the process of learning to fly on their own. The best thing to do is leave any wild animals, birds, deer, raccoons, etc., where you found them – in the wild. 

 

  • How do I keep snakes out of my yard?
    • Answer: If snakes are coming into your yard, they are most likely finding a food source such as mice there. The best way to keep snakes out of your yard is to get rid of the food source. Clear your yard of any brush piles, thick shrubbery, or areas where mice may live. Also, keeping grass mowed and your yard clean will help. Snakes like to have hiding places, so eliminating those and food sources are the best option to keep snakes away.

 

  • I found a bat in my attic. What do I do?
    • Answer: Don’t panic. The most important thing is to figure out where the bats are coming in so those places can be closed once the bats are removed. For information on what to do if a bat is in your house click here: There's a Bat in My House. Also, you may contact a nuisance wildlife control operator that is permitted to handle bats and can help with exclusion. Click here for more information on nuisance control operators: Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators

 

  • Where did all my hummingbirds go?
    • Answer: There could be many reasons for the lack of hummingbirds at your feeder. Hummingbirds typically migrate into Alabama in March and leave by September/ early October. During the middle of the breeding season, male hummingbirds can be very territorial over feeders, and will drive other hummingbirds away. Usually there will be higher numbers of hummingbirds seen later in the summer, in June and July, when young birds are present and just before fall migration.  While time of year is a big factor in hummingbird numbers, other factors including available food sources nearby, habitat alteration, and weather could be affecting the number of birds that you see at your feeders. Don’t worry if you don’t have many birds right now, because chances are that will change over time. Continue to refresh your sugar water and clean your feeders and keep a lookout for any new hummingbirds that show up! 

 

  • How do I report a banded bird?
    • Answer: If you see a banded bird, try to get as much information as you can about the species, band placement (left or right foot), type of band (metal, color band), and band numbers. Also, location information (GPS, road intersections, etc.) is very important when reporting bands. To report bands and find out more about the banded individual, go to www.reportband.gov or call 1-800-327-2263(BAND). 

 

  • I found a bird nesting on my porch. What do I do?
    • Answer: Often if you have birds nesting on your porch, they are most likely Carolina wrens or eastern phoebes. Neither one poses a threat to you, but they can be found in unwanted places. Wrens will nest in potted plants, baskets, and even in wreaths on your door. It is illegal to remove a nest that is active with eggs or young in them, but once they leave the nest, it can be removed to deter the birds from laying another clutch of eggs. If the nest is in a potted plant, fern, etc. that is disturbed often, the plant itself may be moved off the porch or away from lots of activity on the porch to allow the birds to continue to nest with little disturbance. 

 

  • Why are there no birds at my feeders?
    • Answer: Just like with hummingbirds, there could be many reasons why birds are not showing up at your feeders. Time of year can impact the number of birds and species of birds that will come to your feeders. Often during the spring and summer months there is enough other food available for nesting birds, and they may not come to feeders as often. Also, if seed stays in feeders too long, it can sometimes get moldy and even start to germinate. If this happens you should clean your feeders out, clean them with bleach and water solution, and fill them back with fresh seed. Another factor could be that there are new predators in the area around your feeder. There could be a hawk flying around the area, or even a new cat in the neighborhood that has been taking birds at your feeder. Keeping cats indoors is the best option to keep birds safe in your yard, but if the cat has to be outside, keeping your feeder out of reach of cats is important. If you see a hawk that is frequently in your area, one option would be to take down your feeder for a few weeks so that the hawk may move on once he realizes there aren’t many birds coming to that area. After a few days, if the hawk is nowhere to be seen, you can replace the feeders with fresh seed. 

 

  • What are regulations on nongame wildlife?
    • Answer: It is illegal to take, capture, kill, or attempt to take, capture, or kill; possess, sell, trade for anything of monetary value, or offer to sell or trade for anything of monetary value, any state or federally listed species without a scientific collection permit or written permit from the Commissioner, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. To find the complete regulation with the state list of protected species click here: Nongame Species Regulation

 

  • Can I keep a snake/bird/turtle as a pet? Can I keep a box turtle if I find one?
    • Answer: It is illegal to possess any state or federally protected nongame species. To see a list of protected species click here: Nongame Species Regulation. Under the nongame species regulation you are allowed to keep one box turtle in possession.

 

  • Do I need a permit to catch nongame wildlife?
    • Answer: Yes, a scientific collecting permit is required when handling nongame wildlife. To find out more about scientific collecting permits and to fill out an application click here: Scientifc Collecting Permits

 

  • How many venomous snakes do we have in Alabama?
    • Answer: There are six species of venomous snakes in Alabama. Those species include the copperhead, cottonmouth, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake, pygmy rattlesnake, and eastern coral snake. To find out more about these species click here: Venomous Snakes

 

  • If you touch a baby animal, will the mother abandon it?
    • Answer: This is an old myth, and is not true. However, the parents may not return to a baby if the area is disturbed frequently. The best thing to do when you encounter a baby animal is to leave it alone and not to touch it or move it, unless it is in immediate danger (in the middle of a busy road, being harassed by a cat or dog, etc.). If left alone, the parents will likely return to care for the baby. 

 

  • What species are threatened or endangered in Alabama?

 

  • How do I keep squirrels of my bird feeders?
    • Answer: Squirrels are very clever animals and can often find a way to use a ‘squirrel-proof’ feeder. One important thing to remember is placement of your bird feeders. Squirrels can jump large distances, so keeping your bird feeders away from tree limbs and other structures they can jump from is important. Also, baffles around the base of your feeders can sometimes prevent squirrels from climbing up onto the feeders. One way to possibly prevent squirrels from getting into your bird feeders is to continuously feed them away from your other feeders. Squirrels will feed on corn cobs, peanuts, and other seeds, and there are several squirrel feeders available such as platform feeders or specialized corn cob holders. Having easier access to their preferred foods may keep them off of your bird feeders.